The Valentine’s Day shooting, at the high school, in Florida, has not only sickened me but it has also enraged enough people (especially the students who were there) to finally declare that “thoughts and prayers” alone do not cut it. Something must be done by Congress. I agree.
What is happening with every shooting is a clash between two American values. On one hand we have the Declaration of Independence with “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” the “unalienable rights” given to all human beings by their Creator. Which our government is supposed to protect. On the other hand, we have the Second Amendment’s “Right to bear arms.” So far, the clash between these two American values has always been won by the “right to bear arms.”
I am a life-long hunter (who still hunts) and who owns two rifles and a shotgun. I am also an Army veteran who qualified with the M-16, the civilian version of which (the AR-15) has been the overwhelming choice of the shooters. So, I am a person who has used firearms most of my life, who owns firearms, who is comfortable with firearms and who is in total agreement with anyone who wants to own a firearm to hunt with or to have for personal protection. But, I also am in favor of common sense gun safety legislation. This includes universal background checks for all gun purchases; an assault weapon ban*; restrictions on the number of rounds that can be carried in a clip**; outlawing armor piercing rounds***; and outlawing bump stocks****.
So, which American value has to give? For me, “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” needs to finally trump the Second Amendment’s “Right to bear arms.”
Read more on Jim’s gun safety page.
* An assault weapon is designed to kill a lot of people very quickly and it is very good at doing just that. Assault weapons belong in the hands of the military, not civilians.
** There is no good reason why someone needs a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds. If you cannot hit a deer by your third shot you need to go back and sight your rifle in again.
*** Armor piercing bullets are “cop killers”. Every deer and moose I have shot did not wear body armor.
**** As demonstrated by Las Vegas, bump stocks have one purpose, and it is not a legitimate purpose.